Why was song removed?

The 2010 Breaking Bread dropped the song, ‘The Eyes and Hands of Christ.’
Where two or three are gathered in my name,
love will be found, life will abound.
By name we are called, from water we are sent:
to become the eyes and hands of Christ.

  1. One we become, no longer strangers.
    No longer empty or frail.
    Filled with the Spirit, ev’ry hunger satisfied.
    Christ is the center of our lives.

  2. One in the Spirit, one in the Lord.
    One in the breaking of the bread.
    Life-giving witness of our dying and new life,
    held by the promise in our hands.

  3. Not what we are, but what we become.
    Not what we say, but what we do.
    Living the challenge as the bearers of light.
    We are the eyes and hands of Christ.*

Perhaps I am missing something. Is there something theologically wrong with it?

Thank you for your responses.

God bless.


I don’t have a definitive answer but, from my publishing background, I will make an educated guess.

Yes, as you suspected, there could have been a liturgical reason for the song’s removal from OCP’s product. I didn’t see anything odd in the lyrics you posted.

The more likely reason is a business one. Songs are products, owned by their writer or similar group. It may have been that the royalty fee of the song (as requested by the songwriter) was too high for OCP to accept, and so the song was removed.

OCP regularly cycles through songs by modern composers. Some get dropped to make room for new ones. And some come back. As to which songs get dropped, I’m not sure what the criteria is.

On their website it announces that a certain song is back by popular request. My guess is that requests for CDs, sheet music, and reprints has a lot to do with keeping older songs around.

Another possible business reason is the popularity of the song. It wouldn’t surprise me if the publisher surveys musical directors and other customers. The music is also available online for download individually. The music that is purchased least frequently online probably gets a harder look when the next hymnal is published.

Once a year, I think it is in the fall, OCP sends out a survey to parishes using their hymnals. If the survey shows a given song is rarely used they will drop it and replace it usually with a new composition.

OCP should really concentrate on retaining venerable, sacred music instead of adding the latest “in-thing”. It panders too much to the commercial mentality.

Regarding the song in question, I probably would have removed it myself. The song really does nothing and it’s not the best composition for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Where’s the profit in that? OCP is making good money by holding “workshops” which are basically pitches for its products, and then supplying parishes with those products, which are revised and switched around just often enough to ensure a steady cash flow.

If the parishes just wised up and bought hymnals for the pews, they’d save quite a bit of money, have a better music program, and OCP might be influenced to change its business model and selection. But as long as parishes opt for Bernadette Farrell over Gregorian chant, or Marty Haugen over Ralph Vaughan Williams, then they’ll pay for–and receive–nothing but junk.

Yes, I just endured one such workshop this past weekend, only, the speaker in question was not from OCP, but, from WLP, Peter Kolar. Rather than review the documents and preview the forthcoming new translations, he made a pitch for his own Mass setting, Misa Luna, which contains some paraphrasing (ilicit) and other things from his company. It was not very good. He paid some lip service to Latin, but, that was as far as it got.

The tune for the song in question is banal, pedestrian, and, in terms of quality, substandard to a lot of commercial jingles. It isn’t fit for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I’m grateful it’s gone.

Great observation! Ditto for the lyrics.

I disagree that this is the reason it was removed. Publishers don’t generally make their own subjective judgments and impose them on unhappy customers. They may add new banal, pedestrian hymns from time to time, but they won’t remove banal, pedestrian hymns (or stirringly reverent hymns for that matter) unless it’s good business. The proof of that should be in the numerous banal, pedestrian hymns that have persisted for decades, because they are popular.

Seems to me that the intelligent music director already has a batch of music ready to go, such as:


Personally, there are worse songs that were retained. Some are really un-singable for the congregation, and some have lyrics that say virtually nothing, so, I guess, from a theological standpoint there is ‘nothing’ to object to.

I hadn’t considered it from a publishing and copyright perspective, though, as some have mentioned.

I never knew that song the OP mentioned, but I think it’s good that OCP drops some songs that are banal, especially that my parish uses.

For example, they got rid of that song “O Death, Where Is Your Power?”, and that was a horrible song in my opinion. We sang that for All Souls’ Day one year and it was dreadful. Another they removed is “On This Day” by Marty Haugen (I think he composed it), and that was another dreadful one.

OCP can have good hymns, but I’m not a fan of their newer compositions such as “On Eagle’s Wings” or something written by Bernadette Farrell, Marty Haugen, Dan Schutte, etc. Some of them I like, but a lot are just…more suitable for a Catholic concert.

I would really like to hear more traditional music at Mass, but with OCP’s agenda, it’s really hard to hear a lot of older hymns everyone knows and loves.

But, what’s bad about removing banal songs, is, that song that got removed that was banal, the next one could be worse.

marty haugen and bernadette farrell are GIA

Well, many of their compositions are put in OCP’s hymnals as well.

Yeah, we really should get rid of all that old junk - all those songs that are based on the Old and New Testament. Really, what do they think singing is about? Imagine, singing a song based on a Psalm! The very idea is outrageous!

However, even if the texts seem to be okay, the musicality of the song can render it unfit for use in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. All Sacred Music is religious, but, not all religious music is Sacred. There is a big difference.

How does one deterimine whether or not music is “sacred”?

A more facetious reply might be:

First one must define the bovinity quotient of the piece in question.

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